The Ingalls Lady Bulldogs didn't show any nerves Wednesday afternoon in recording a 54-27 rout of the Southern Coffey County Lady Titans in a first round game of the Class 1A-Division II state tournament at Fort Hays State University.
The Lady Bulldog defense forced 27 turnovers (including 18 steals) and forced the Lady Titans to shoot 9-of-46 (19.6 percent) from the field. Seniors Tara Whipple and Deisy Estrada had five steals apiece in the victory.
"The trap really gave them some trouble and we were able to get some steals early," said Ingalls girls head coach Roger Thurlow. "We were able to play defense well against them."
Ingalls (24-0) shot 14-of-26 from the field in the first half on the way to building a lead that went as high as 29 by the end of the quarter. The victory assured the Lady Bulldogs of two more games on the season.
Whipple made seven of her 10 shots to lead Ingalls in scoring with 14 points, while Rebecca Wyatt added 10 points and six rebounds and freshman Kaisha Batman added nine, as did Hope Beach from off the bench.
"(SCC) did their best of trying to take Rebeeca out of her game, by running a box-and-one," Thurlow said. "That basically opened it up for our guards to shoot from the outside. Tara did a great job. She was knocking down jump shots for us and then everyone else started to get going."
The Lady Bulldogs outscored SCC 21-5 in the opening quarter and extended the lead to 20 early in the second quarter. The margin stayed 20 at halftime at 34-14 and Ingalls allowed only one basket in the third quarter to complete the rout.
SCC made only three field goals in the first three quarters against the Lady Bulldogs. Breanna Isch led the Lady Titans (10-14) with six points and 10 rebounds.
Ingalls will battle Wilson in the semifinals of the state tournament. Wilson (21-2) beat Baileyville 53-42 in another first round contest. Thurlow said the Lady Bulldogs are going to have to find a way to limit Karlie Steinle, who is averaging 24 points a game.
"The rest of the players are solid, but she is their main offense. We're going to have to make sure to stay with her," Thurlow said. "If we can shoot the ball well and guard their best player, then I think we have a shot."